As I sit writing, my mind wanders back to April 19, while I was at Benny’s getting some poster boards for my signs I was making for April 20.
“What do you have, a school project?” the woman at the register asked. “No.” I answered. “Anything good?” she asked me. “Well….it’s for a rally tomorrow.” She inquired further, “What’s the rally for?” At this point there were two paths I could have chosen: I could have lied to avoid bringing up cannabis, or I could tell the truth and see what happens.
“It’s to rally for legalizing marijuana” I answered her, totally straight-faced. Her response was refreshing, “I’m down with that, I can be down with that” she said. Then she turned to her boss who had been talking with a customer and she said “wanna go to a marijuana legalization rally tomorrow?”
Of course he just stared at her and wandered away, but the conversation ended up getting into the wasted resources of our police officers and judges, to the child-molesters who get out of jail and back onto our street to victimize again and again, to the non-violent cannabis seed seller, Marc Emery, who sits in a U.S. prison for 5 long years.
The reason my mind wandered to this was because sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to change the world – and I AM trying to change the world. I get overwhelmed and the one thing that keeps me from getting discouraged during the hard times is the realization that every time we simply take the time to write a letter, or be truthful to strangers, relatives, politicians, police, about our beliefs and convictions, that is one more person you may have changed that day because of your CHOICE to take action. To just do it, so to speak.
My husband and I went to Toronto, Ontario Canada May 7 for the Toronto Freedom Festival / Global Marijuana March that is held there. It is an annual gathering of some 25,000 – 50,000 (depending who you ask) people celebrating freedom and the cannabis culture.
People from all over the world march globally May 7 every year, but Toronto’s march is the largest. May 7 was a converging of people from very different backgrounds – racial, social, monetary, political; but we all had the same message: this plant and its people must be free.
People everywhere were sprawled on their picnic blankets, packing bongs, smoking hash, playing music, selling seeds, it was how the world should be. Police were there to do their job: Keep the PEACE, and because we were all peaceful, there was nothing for them to do. They didn’t bother anyone and no one bothered them. This is how the world is supposed to be. Walking in unison with 50,000 like-minded individuals, all fighting for the change we want and need and demand of our governments, marching to be seen, marching to be heard, marching to be accounted for: we were all individuals but the march made us one.
As an American, I find it amazingly refreshing to experience things like Vapor Central on Yonge St., which is a “bring your own marijuana” lounge where you can rent vaporizers, bongs, or pipes and hang out with your friends, meet new people, watch the game, whatever. Folks on the sidewalk don’t bat an eyelash at this establishment. The police are not hovering outside. There were no crazed druggies trying to claw their way through the walls. Basically, the world isn’t coming to an end just because people are smoking cannabis, right? The way it should be.
At the march, we met so many people that are fighting for change every single day. We had the pleasure of finally meeting Mrs. Jodie Emery. She is the most gracious, kind, strong woman I’ve met in this fight, and to hear her take a call from Marc, her husband, so far away in jail, during our dinner was a sober reminder that we are not ALL free. Some of us have lost our battles. Some of us are suffering behind bars for fighting for our freedom.
Not a day goes by in my life where I’m not trying to do something to fight cannabis prohibition. Lighting up in the privacy of your home with your friends, is not enough. We need MORE people speaking out. We need more mothers writing their politicians saying “Hey, I’m a good mom, I have a great job, I love my family, and YOU WANT TO PUT ME IN JAIL FOR CANNABIS – a plant safer than alcohol or tobacco.” Politicians need to know that it’s not the Mexican drug cartels, it’s not the mobsters, it’s not the gangs, it’s the mothers, fathers, sisters, daughters, sons, uncles, aunts, all of us, it is all of us that they are continuing this war on. We need to come out say “enough is enough”. I for one have had enough. Marc Emery is my hero, my mentor, my inspiration, and having him locked up in the U.S. on a 5 year sentence for SEEDS was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I vowed to change the world.
So when I feel discouraged, and tired, and start to let the negative thoughts creep in at what a monumental task I’ve bestowed upon myself to accomplish, I remind myself of Benny’s and that one pivotal moment to possibly educate another person (and that person will educate another person, and the ripple effect continues). I want to change the world because I want my children to live without the fear that these previous generations have lived with. The harms of the drug war, the cannabis war, the war against freedom to choose, outweigh any possible social harms by ten, twenty-fold. So knowing that truth and living the opposite can lead me to feel discouraged and frustrated and helpless sometimes. But I really do believe that cannabis is on a near biblical scale, for those that are religious, because there is nothing else like it on this planet. Its benefits and abilities are countless. Those in power will demonize and persecute the things that threaten their power. Marching 50,000 strong shows that maybe sometimes we may very well be afraid – but not today – and the change is coming.